Monday, May 9, 2011

Continue to Ask "Why"

I attended a conference this past Thursday and Friday at Roaring River, Missouri sponsored by Pittsburg State University and our local service center, Greenbush. It was very good to visit with administrators that have more experience than I, and to visit with people in higher ed about educational reform.

One of the speakers was Andy Tompkins, the current chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents. Dr. Tompkins was the former Commissioner of Education for our state department of education. This really gives us involved with K-12 education an ear with the Board of Regents, which has been long overdue. Dr. Tompkins wants to get K-12 educators to work with the Board of Regents in regard to what is best for students prior to them leaving high school, a step in the right direction in my opinion.

One of the things we kept asking was why we do some of the things we do in education. After you left your highest level of school, when have you written anything that resembles a research paper? So why do we have students write them? To prepare them for college, same question, why do colleges have them write these types of papers? Why are we looking at four years of math, when we know some of our students will not be successful in advanced math classes? Especially when you don't need that many hours of math in college, unless you are a math major.
We found the "why" questions kept going on and on, it was very good dialogue.

Why have public high schools been relegated to college prep anyway. With the economy and rising cost of college maybe we should look at other avenues for our students. I know this is about educational reform, but why do our schools look like they did when I was in high school? We need to keep asking why and until someone can give us an answer other than "we've always done it that way", we won't settle for the status quo.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who has hired and managed employees in the IT field, I can assure you the skills involved in writing a research paper are directly applicable to the workplace.

    My best employees are able to identify a problem, define a scope to that problem, research information about it, evaluate the relevancy and authority of that information, and then clearly communicate their results in written or verbal form. If you can efficiently teach those skills some other way than writing research papers, great. If not, please don't throw out the method just because you've always done it that way and feel you need to be new and cutting edge.

    That said, I applaud the fact that you're asking 'why?', especially regarding techniques which have been used for a long time.